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Mbappe helps PSG to Champions League semi-finals

Sports Desk | banglanews24.com
Update: 2024-04-17 12:50:03
Mbappe helps PSG to Champions League semi-finals photo collected

Kylian Mbappe scored twice as Paris St-Germain thrashed Barcelona to turn around a first-leg deficit and reach the semi-finals of the Champions League.

PSG had trailed 3-2 after the first leg in France but reached the last four for the first time since 2021 after a chaotic encounter in Spain.

Luis Enrique's side will face Borussia Dortmund in the semi-final after they beat Atletico Madrid 5-4 on aggregate in a thrilling encounter in Germany.

The visitors started the brighter of the two at five-time champions Barcelona's temporary home - the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys.

But it was the Catalan side who struck first when Lamine Yamal drove down the right-hand side, beating Nuno Mendes and clipping over for Raphinha to score from close range.

The task ahead looked daunting for PSG at that point, needing to score two goals just to level the score on aggregate with the crowd heavily against them.

But things began to unravel when Barca defender Ronald Araujo received a straight red card for clipping Bradley Barcola just outside the area and denying a clear goalscoring opportunity.

Araujo appeared to argue that his centre-back partner Pau Cubarsi was covering, meaning he was not the last man, but the video assistant referee stuck with the referee's on-field decision, leaving Barcelona to play 60 minutes with 10 men.

Ousmane Dembele capitalised on the advantage when, against his former side, he fired into the roof of the net from Barcola's whipped ball across the six-yard box.

Vitinha was given acres of space on the edge of the Barcelona box and hit a sweet strike into the bottom corner nine minutes after the break to make it 2-1 on the night and 4-4 on aggregate.

PSG's remarkable recovery continued when Joao Cancelo brought down Dembele in the box and Mbappe converted the spot-kick to fire his side into the lead.

After being kept quiet for much of the two legs, Mbappe then stepped up and smashed into the net in the 89th minute to cap two highly entertaining quarter-final matches.

The two semi-final first legs take place on separate nights, on 30 April and 1 May, with the second legs on 7 and 8 May.

Since being taken over by Qatar Sports Investments in 2011, PSG have won nine Ligue 1 titles but have failed to deliver the ownership's main ambition of winning the Champions League.

They reached the final in 2020 but lost to Bayern Munich and have since reached the semis once and gone out in the last 16 twice.

Trailing by two aggregate goals away from home in Barcelona following Raphinha's strike, it looked like a familiar tale would once again play out.

And with Mbappe set for a move to Real Madrid this summer, hopes were ebbing away of a dream farewell in which the France striker steered them to European glory.

But after Araujo's sending off, the tide turned and PSG were well on top as Barcelona's chances of reaching a first semi-final in five years dissipated.

Barcelona boss Xavi was sent off in the aftermath of Vitinha's goal as referee Istvan Kovacs dished out cards at will in a hectic match with another member of Barca's backroom staff also shown a red card.

PSG dominated the second half and had chances to go further ahead as Dembele volleyed inches wide of the far post before Fabian Ruiz saw his left-footed effort spin wide.

Luis Enrique said before the match he felt confident his side could turn things around and they capitalised expertly on what turned out to be a difficult night for Barcelona with fans in the crowd visibly upset at the missed opportunity.

Source: BBC

BDST: 1248 HRS, APR 17, 2024
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